Category Archives: Science

Get the Latest on Climate Change Research and Solutions

climate-solutionsNew programs on The UC Climate Solutions Channel explore what climate change is, the science behind what we know, and what we can do about it.

8232The Natural Climate Solutions Symposium, from UC Davis
Enjoy highlights from this lively and informative symposium on natural climate solutions hosted by the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy at UC Davis.

8232Harness the Sun: America’s Quest for a Solar-Powered Future
Philip Warburg explores a range of solar technologies. A seasoned environmental lawyer, Warburg makes a case for embracing this technology as he talks about what is happening around the country and what more could be done.

8232Climate Change is Here. Now What?
Berkeley Lab Scientist, Bill Collins, discusses what we know about climate change, how we know it, and what we can do about it. Collins serves as the director for the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab. He is also the director of the Climate Readiness Institute, a multi-campus initiative to prepare the Bay Area for climate change.

Check out The UC Climate Solutions Channel for more videos on climate change research and solutions.

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A Molecular Roadmap to Global Health

8232Immunologist Erica Ollman Saphire, an expert who has worked on the front lines in west Africa battling viral hemorrhagic fevers, gives a fascinating and sometimes frightening on-the-ground account of how something called the VIC global consortium developed the only effective strategy to fight the Ebola virus.

The VIC or Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium, was established in 2014 to develop life-saving antibody therapeutics against some of the world’s deadliest viruses. The VIC represents a field-wide collaboration in which all of the leading laboratories, from over 15 institutions, have united to develop the most efficacious antibody cocktail possible against Ebola virus.

In her presentation, Erica takes you inside the workings of how this collaborative effort allows each laboratory to contribute their strengths in analytical techniques towards the identification, characterization, and validation of antibodies against viruses like Ebola.

From isolating novel antibodies and testing them in vivo, to analyzing the structure of the molecular mechanism for Ebola neutralization, Erica shows how the VIC scientists each contribute unique insights towards the overall characterization of each antibody, and have ultimately established a method which could be used to defend against new diseases emerging in our world of global change.

Watch A Molecular Roadmap to Global Health presented by Saturday Science at The Scripps Research Institute.

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Climate: The More Things Change…

8232The eminent climate scientist Richard Somerville of Scripps Institution of Oceanography first appeared on our airwaves in the mid-90’s, sounding the alarm about global warming in the documentary, Change on Planet Earth.

Though he (and we) have matured since then, his message remains the same. The science confirming climate change is sound and our actions in addressing the impacts can – and will – make a difference. But for that to happen, it’s imperative that we communicate with one another about what’s at stake and why it matters.

Watch Somerville circa 2016 in Climate Change: Strong Science, Forceful Actions, Positive Outcomes.

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The Mind and Methods of V.S. Ramachandran

8232In the first chapter of his book, Phantoms in the Brain, premier neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran quotes Sherlock Holmes: “I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routines of everyday life.”

It was this “Sherlock Holmes” aspect of science and medicine – of exploring the unusual and figuring out how things work – that ultimately led to Ramachandran’s successful career in neurology. When he first began to study neurology, the brain was largely unchartered territory. Why is it that some people see colors when they smell certain aromas? Why is it that some people can still feel their fingertips – even when their hands are missing? For Ramachandran, a lifetime of mysteries was waiting to be solved.

As a child growing up in India and Thailand, Ramachandran loved the beautiful simplicity of scientific experiments. Put an iron nail in a blue solution of copper sulfate, and iron becomes copper – like magic! As a neurologist, Ramachandran continued to embrace a low-tech and elegant approach to scientific study whenever possible. When one of his patients still felt the painfully-clenched fist of his severed hand, Ramachandran used a mirror to fool the patient into seeing his missing hand and the patient was then able to unclench it and feel relief.

Ramachandran explains the “grandmother test” to UC Berkeley’s Harry Kreisler: “If an elaborate theory can not predict what your grandmother knows using common sense, then it isn’t worth much.” Thus, the litmis test of a well-constructed experiment is two-fold: first, it should be simple enough to easily explain it to your grandmother so that she understands it; and second, she should say “Wow!” If it’s too complicated to explain and it doesn’t interest her, then try again.

Learn more about the incredible work of V.S. Ramachandran in our video archive of his work and lectures. New programs feature discussions on neurolology and our questions of self, along with an interview with UC Berkeley’s Harry Kreisler. From mystical sensory experiences, to phantom limbs, to art – go inside the mind with Ramachandran.

Browse all programs in the V.S. Ramachandran video archive.

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Origins of Genus Homo – CARTA

8232Despite discoveries of remarkable new fossils in recent years, the evolutionary events surrounding the origins of genus Homo are incompletely understood.

This fascinating CARTA symposium explores evidence bearing on the emergence of our genus. What forces caused the changes in diet and body form as our predecessors evolved toward Homo. Were there forces from within on the molecular scale? Or changes in environment and climate? How did an integrated suite of behaviors, collectively termed hunting and gathering, that emerged sometime between 3 and 2 million years ago affect changes that spurred evolution towards the characteristics which are all associated with our human lineage?

Watch as a diverse cadre of experts from around the world present their observations on the Origins of Genus Homo.

Browse all episodes in CARTA: Origins of Genus Homo

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